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Local woman organizes drive, makes more than 100 ‘Superhero Fuel Kits’ for front line healthcare workers

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Lisa Barns of Clarence Center had an idea.

She turned that idea into something amazing.

You see, Lisa’s brother, John Santillo is the Emergency Room director at Sisters Hospital. “Covid-19 directly impacted our family the day his life and his staff became front line healthcare heroes,’ Lisa said, “We always knew they were all special, but this is an extraordinary time.”

So she wanted to do something to uplift her brother’s spirits and those he works with.

“These superheroes carry a tremendous amount of weight on their shoulders, sadness in their hearts and fear in the soul.”

It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. “The emotional anguish is one battle, the fear of spreading or bringing this virus home to their family is unsettling. My brother has 4 kids under the age of 7 and a beautiful, supportive wife, Sara. I see this incredible family and wanted to find a way to help ease the stress, pain and hardships John endures from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

So she got busy. Lisa made an Amazon Wish List and posted it to her personal Facebook page. She asked for help from loved ones, friends, family members and neighbors. No surprise, they came through – big time!

“I hoped for some version of success, but we had an overwhelming response of love. My initial goal of 50 “fuel kits” quickly jumped to 100 and in the end, we surpassed that goal and delivered 110. We also upgraded the size of the bags constructed from the plentiful selection we collected. So many loved ones were eager to help, contribute and take part!”

Many who stepped up felt helpless and needed to do something. Not everyone can save lives, but we can all support those who do! Lisa had donations from friends across the country – all folks coming together even while social distancing. The bags were filled with snacks, ear savers for the face masks, Tylenol, lotion, gum, chapstick and other supplies!

“My wish is that John and his team feel an abundance of love and support to see them through their days, and when they go home at night, our prayers can bring them all comfort. They are true superheroes.”

They sure are! And Lisa, so are you!!




This is how we will get through this – together. We will continue to see ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. It’s just who we are!!!


Mary Friona

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Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

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